Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Washtenaw County, MI : CMH to announce rate decrease for Community Living Services

Update 4/16/15: About 100 people attended the WCHO/CSTS meeting on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 to discuss Community Living Services and potential cuts in services when they are found on further evaluation to not meet "medical necessity" criteria. The above letter was for people who hire providers through "Self-determination" arrangements. Although this was not the main subject of the meeting, it did come up. There will be future meetings on the "Self-determination" decision and on other Community Living Services. Stay tuned.

The Washtenaw Community Health Organization and Community Supports and Treatment Services are holding a meeting tonight to discuss plans affecting Community Living Supports for people with disabilities. These include staffing for people in their own homes.

According to a letter sent to consumers (individuals with disabilities and their families who receive services), the rate of pay for these direct care workers will be reduced to $13.88 per hour, which includes worker’s compensation, transportation, community participation, taxes, and training. The letter says that “While this is not a reduction in your current level of services, it may reduce the amount you can pay staff.” WCHO also encourages consumers to meet with their clinical teams and consider options, “including the option to use one of our contracted providers for CLS services”.

The change will go into effect on May 15, 2015.

People whose services are funded through Medicaid Waivers, especially those with exceptionally high needs, find themselves extremely limited by the allowable amount of funding available to pay service providers. The higher the needs, the more skilled and reliable direct care workers need to be to fulfill those needs. Reducing the hourly wage of workers who, if they do their jobs well, take on tremendous responsibility to do difficult work leads to diminishing returns: a high turnover rate, poorer care, and sometimes no care at all.

The change in rate is justified as “necessary to ensure that Washtenaw County’s rate is the same as our regional partners and to ensure that we are being fiscally responsible.” Another way of looking at it is that both these things might be accomplished by raising the rate of our regional partners and ensuring a more stable and reliable workforce all the way around.

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